Winter is coming fast and as a first time Vespa owner I put out some feelers on how to best store the Vespa. Cold or heated storage?, remove plugs?, empty gas? and many other questions came to mind.
The Vespa GTV-300 Service Manual recommends the following for periods of inactivity but does not address all of my questions:
Vespa Manual – Periods of inactivity (03_37)
We recommend carrying out the following operations:
- Clean the scooter thoroughly and then cover it with a canvas;
- With the engine off and the piston in the bottom dead centre position, remove the spark plug, and pour into its hole 1 to 2 cc of the recommended oil. Operate the starter button 1-2 times for roughly 1 second to turn the engine over slowly, then insert the spark plug again;
- Ensure that the fuel tank is at least half full (in order to ensure the total immersion of the fuel pump); spread antirust grease on the unpainted metal parts;
- keep the wheels lifted above the ground by resting the chassis on two wooden wedges;
- As regards the battery, follow the instructions in the “Battery” section.
AGIP CITY HI TEC 4T
Oil to lubricate flexible transmissions (throttle control)
Oil for 4-stroke engines
Battery Section: Long periods of inactivity
Battery performance will decrease if the vehicle is not used for a long time. This is the result of the natural phenomenon of battery discharging plus residual absorption by vehicle components with constant power consumption. Poor battery performance may also be due to environmental conditions and the cleanness of the poles. In order to avoid difficult starts and/or irreversible damage to the battery, follow any of these steps:
- At least once a month start the engine and run it slightly above idle speed for 10-15 minutes. This keeps all the engine components, as well as the battery, in good working order.
- Take your vehicle to a garage (as indicated in the “Vehicle not used for extended periods” section) to have the battery removed. Have the battery cleaned, charged fully and stored in a dry, ventilated place. Recharge at least once every two months.
Well you can see from the above why I had some concerns and questions. Since I am not yet a mechanic and just purchased a set of tools, pouring oil into the spark plug hole and so on seems a little daunting.
So I went on-line to Modern Vespa and asked the question of what to do. I also sent a few e-mails to other “experts” (Vespa owners) and asked what they do. Funny enough, some people actually do nothing and seem to have no issues (so they say).
After reading all of the different suggestions, I have combined the best of the best and will attempt to store my Vespa in the following manner:
A friend’s garage. I was offered one that was not heated and another offered me a heated garage providing that they have the space after putting their lawn furniture inside. I prefer the heated garage.
Special Garage Floor Considerations:
Apparently concrete floors for all storage season is not good for the tires so I will put the bike on the center stand on a thick rubber mat that I presently use to avoid marks in my driveway.
Fuel Line Preparation:
In preparation for long-term storage, I will use SeaFoam Engine/Fuel Treatment in the gas tank. In order to ensure that it is throughout the system, I will use the SeaFoam for one complete tank prior to storage and then use it again for the final full tank just before putting it into the garage. This way I will be certain that the fuel/engine treatment is throughout the system.
I will change the oil and filter in accordance with a previous post.
Just prior to putting the Vespa into the final winter storage garage I will clean the Vespa completely. I will wash the scooter with warm water and soap and dry with a chamois. I will then spray and wipe with a lint free cloth the painted surfaces with Honda’s Pro Cleaner Polish. I find that this product does an excellent job and leaves the paint shiny, smooth and clean.
I will rub a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the chrome and will separate any jointed chrome parts and rub the joints with the jelly. This will help keep the chrome nice and rust/pit free. By the way, never use chrome polish. It removes the chrome a little each time until the chrome thickness becomes so small it will begin to tarnish from the metal underneath.
I will clean the tires and remove as much grease and grime from the engine compartment, under the fenders and so on.
I will rub the leather well with a leather conditioner and then spray the leather with a leather water-repellent used for boots.
The Vespa will be as nice as the day I rode her home.
At this point, I will roll the Vespa into her final winter resting place on the rubber and lift her up onto her center stand.
With the engine off and the piston in the bottom dead centre position (I have yet to figure this part out), remove the spark plug, and pour into its hole 1 to 2 cc of the Scoot 4 – 5w40 oil. Operate the starter button 1-2 times for roughly 1 second to turn the engine over slowly, then insert the spark plug again.
I will plug the Honda Battery Minder into the wall plug and into the connection on my Vespa. I had the connection permanently connected with a plug inside the front glove box.
I will cover the Vespa completely with the Vespa Cover.
Closing the Garage Door and saying goodnight for 3-4 Months
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Hey thanks so much for you site. I’m new to the world of Vespa and enjoy your blog. I too have a GTV300 espresso – loving it !